Mu­sic to my ears

What the clas­si­cal world has been lis­ten­ing to this month Eric Lu

BBC Music Magazine - - Thefullscore -


I would say that Radu Lupu’s four­disc al­bum of Schu­bert pi­ano works is one of my bibles among pi­ano records. Schu­bert’s mu­sic is so per­sonal – a lot of it is so in­ti­mate and car­ries so much suf­fer­ing, an­guish and even des­per­a­tion – and Lupu cap­tures ev­ery­thing in such an ideal way. ★is charisma and pathos and the at­mos­phere of spir­i­tu­al­ity that he cre­ates is so suit­able for this mu­sic that it’s al­most as if he has a di­rect line into Schu­bert’s heart.

John Eliot Gar­diner’s record­ings of JS Bach can­tatas are my go-to choice when I don’t want to have any­thing to do with pi­ano mu­sic. It’s just pure en­joy­ment.

It’s some­thing that I of­ten lis­ten

I try and get across what a com­poser was think­ing and feel­ing when he wrote a piece

to when I am walk­ing down the street, and when I was in Leipzig re­cently it was in my ears the whole time! I’m also fa­mil­iar with Karl Richter’s Bach record­ings which are very dif­fer­ent – but the great beauty of Bach is that he, above all com­posers, can take so many dif­fer­ent in­ter­pre­ta­tions.

On Youtube, I’ve been en­joy­ing lis­ten­ing to Grig­ory Sokolov play­ing Brahms’s Se­cond Pi­ano Con­certo in Bres­cia in 1993. I be­lieve it is one of the great­est per­for­mances of any pi­ano con­certo, ever. It is phe­nom­e­nal in ev­ery way. When­ever I per­form, I al­ways try to dig deeply into and get across what the com­poser might have been think­ing and feel­ing when he wrote the piece, and why he wrote it. When I hear a great per­for­mance like this one of Sokolov’s, I re­alise this is ex­actly what he has achieved.

And also… My great­est cul­tural en­joy­ment comes sim­ply through trav­el­ling around the world and vis­it­ing places. In Europe alone, for in­stance, ev­ery re­gion of ev­ery coun­try has its own flavour, from the ar­chi­tec­ture and the art to the peo­ple, the food and the at­mos­phere. My re­cent visit to Eng­land was my first, and I found Leeds so dif­fer­ent from Lon­don and Liver­pool. It’s all so unique. Eric Lu’s Leeds In­ter­na­tional Pi­ano Com­pe­ti­tion-win­ning per­for­mances are out now on Warner Clas­sics

Ven­era Gi­madieva so­prano

I find it re­ally dif­fi­cult to find the time to ex­plore the mu­sic world beyond opera, but I re­cently went with a col­league to see the jazz bassist Cor­co­ran Holt at a jazz bar in Wash­ing­ton DC. For a Euro­pean or Amer­i­can au­di­ence, per­haps his mu­sic is quite fa­mil­iar in sound, but for me it was so new and dif­fer­ent! It was like en­ter­ing a scene in a movie.

At the mo­ment, I’ve been lis­ten­ing to mu­sic by Miyagi & End­sh­piel, two Rus­sian mu­si­cians who are hard to de­fine in terms of genre. It’s like a mix be­tween R’N’B and rap, with a mu­si­cal ac­com­pa­ni­ment. I was in­tro­duced to them by my hus­band who is a pi­anist and has very di­verse mu­si­cal in­ter­ests. I’d love to col­lab­o­rate with them – opera and rap to­gether would be amaz­ing.

Be­cause I travel a lot, I’m con­stantly dis­cov­er­ing new styles of mu­sic. Last time I was in Madrid, I dis­cov­ered fla­menco. I saw Sara Baras, a very fa­mous fla­menco dancer, who trav­els the world with her tour. She

is ac­com­pa­nied by about ten other dancers, as well as a band. Although Span­ish mu­sic is great to lis­ten back to, to ex­pe­ri­ence the pas­sion of fla­menco and feel their emo­tions, it’s far bet­ter to watch in a live per­for­mance.

And also… The Rus­sian au­thor Boris Akunin has writ­ten a se­ries of de­tec­tive nov­els which I love. There are about 13 nov­els in to­tal, and I’ve nearly got through them all. They’re all set in Tsarist Rus­sia, and it’s fas­ci­nat­ing to ex­plore this mo­ment in his­tory. The pro­tag­o­nist is a re­ally un­usual, quirky char­ac­ter as well.

Ven­era Gi­madieva’s de­but disc of arias by Bellini, Donizetti and Rossini is out on the Ru­bi­con la­bel Jo­hannes Moser cel­list

When­ever I need some ex­tra en­ergy and can’t get hold of an es­presso, I lis­ten to Ivry Gitlis play­ing Bartók’s Se­cond Vi­o­lin Con­certo. The power and sen­si­tiv­ity that he brings to that piece gets me ev­ery time. I was for­tu­nate to meet Gitlis a few years back, in a smoky bar in Ber­lin at two o’clock in the morn­ing. We all got our Doug Mo­ran, Colorado, US

I’ve just been con­tracted to play bas­soon in a De­cem­ber per­for­mance of Re­spighi’s Laud to the Na­tiv­ity. I had not heard of this piece be­fore; in my quest to learn more, I dis­cov­ered a 1960 record­ing by the

Roger Wag­ner Chorale (sung in English!), con­ducted by Al­fred Wal­len­stein, in­clud­ing mezzo Mar­i­lyn Horne. What a de­light. I’ve been en­chanted by and in­fat­u­ated with the mu­sic. I rarely lis­ten to per­for­mances re­peat­edly but I’ve made an ex­cep­tion with this piece. in­stru­ments out, and some­body handed him a vi­o­lin, and we played ex­cerpts of the Schu­bert Quin­tet. It was un­for­get­table!

Ev­ery year I spend a good por­tion of my sum­mer hol­i­days in New York City. I used to live there for a few years, and since I’ve moved back to Ger­many, I am al­ways keen on get­ting my New York en­ergy fix at least once a year. This sum­mer I heard the jazz trum­peter Roy Har­grove for the first time live at the Blue

Note jazz club. I have been a fan of him for many years, and his al­bum Ear­food has re­turned to the top of my playlist.

I was never a huge Bea­tles fan, which for a lot of peo­ple makes me a bad per­son. ★ow­ever, I love the 1971 Con­cert for Bangladesh by then ex-bea­tle Ge­orge Har­ri­son. The band he put to­gether for this oc­ca­sion is as all-star as it gets – in­clud­ing Ringo Starr, Eric Clap­ton and Billy Pre­ston – and the fact that leg­endary pro­ducer Phil Spec­tor al­legedly kept de­mand­ing ‘More Au­di­ence!’ in the mix­ing booth re­ally adds to the ex­cite­ment of this live cut.

And also… For a few years I have been liv­ing in Cologne, which is also home to the in­ter­na­tion­ally renowned pain­ter Ger­hardt Richter. Not long ago he had an ex­hi­bi­tion of new paint­ings at the Mu­seum Lud­wig, which com­pletely blew me away. ★is un­der­stand­ing of colour and bal­ance is re­mark­able, yet he is al­low­ing co­in­ci­dence to be a de­cid­ing fac­tor, as one can wit­ness in a very in­sight­ful re­cent doc­u­men­tary about him and his process.

Moser per­forms with the Bournemouth Sym­phony, 28 Nov

– 1 Dec, and the Royal Scot­tish Na­tional Or­ches­tra, 14-15 Dec

Bass line: Wash­ing­ton DC’S great jazz son, Cor­co­ran Holt

Best Bartók: the Is­raeli vi­o­lin­ist Ivry Gitlis


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